Consumer Rights Protection
(A Division of National Crime Research Intelligence Bureau)
Is one of the many initiatives of National Crime Research Intelligence Bureau. It is meant to help improve the quality of services being provided by various government and private enterprises. You can express your displeasure and let other people know the issues with various companies. You can share others experiences and submit your own complaints about consumer harassment. You can also discuss the various posts by posting and reading comments. If you want to know how different companies are faring, search for complaints regarding them in the search box. The concerned companies can also look up the problems their customers are facing and thus address the issues. Our Members can report to us about any wrongdoings by any individual. Business establishment/ Company etc and get rewarded for exposing such malpractices
Consumer Rights in India
When one plans to get involved into a contract or agreement for buying or hiring any good or services, both the parties are bound by terms and conditions of the contract as well as rules of parliament. The consumer rights are also defined in terms of legislation like Sale of Goods Act and Supply of Goods and services etc. They put terms into a contract which cannot be excluded or taken away nor can be waivered even.
There is a quite good reason behind these terms. The consumer has a disadvantage when he goes for buying goods, and to come over this imbalance, the legislation described before as well as some other legislation have been enforced.
The seller also has some terms to follow, for instance, the right to return goods that have not been used, within a specified time for a refund if one does not like the product he has purchased. These terms are additional to the statutory rights, which are there and cannot be taken away.
Customers consist of a number of consumer rights and it can be seen that one’s statutory rights are more “powerful” as compared to the contractual rights one has agreed to and therefore one should use this as opposed to having a warranty (one should be aware of that a warranty might cover something that GA cannot protect you from). If a dispute pops up (faulty goods are used as an example), one does not have to argue that he has a contract that claims that goods should have satisfactory quality –which legislation already implies. If one is to argue some contractual term, it is required for him to prove it. Besides, using the consumer rights or legislative rights compels the store to take the law for consideration, and not act in the way that they are doing one a favor by offering some remedy out of the goodness of their own hearts i.e. replacing or repairing or refunding. For example, one buys a faulty mobile phone back to a store, and the reason for return is put forward as “refund under 14 day store policy. Then, answer is big NO! , and the reason is that the law was not complied with.
If one has a dispute with a retailer, he should also inform it to Consumer Direct. As much as this service is disliked, it does have any useful function – it gathers data on complaints that Trading Standards can have. Before consumer direct, it is difficult for TSOs to have an idea of where the problems arose. Now, with a national database, this kind of data can be collected and used and what else can it be used for?
The effect of this is pretty important. However, initially, if any action was taken against a retailer, it used to be in the civil courts by the buyer, and was sorted on the individual basis. It is possible that a prosecution might be brought against the seller that depends on the problem, but this would have happened on the individual complaint. If there are a number of considerably small complaints against a retailer, then the actions can be taken as a whole and there are very high penalties for that.
There is a need of awareness of consumer rights and it depends upon one that whether he follows advice and get his problems solved, but one should be aware that it might bet one’s cotton socks that it would happen over and again. It can happen with anyone or everyone, or one can take a stand, enforce his rights and make the companies behave for doing what they ought to do in the first place.
Right to Safety
According to the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the consumer right is referred to as ‘right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property’. It is applicable to specific areas like healthcare, pharmaceuticals and food processing, this right is spread across the domain having a serious effect on the health of the consumers or their well being viz. Automobiles, Housing, Domestic Appliances, Travel etc. When there is violation of the right then there occur medical malpractice lawsuits in the country. It is estimated every year that thousands or millions of citizens of India are killed or seriously injured by immoral practices by doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and the automobile industry. Still the government of India, known for its callousness, does not succeed in acknowledging this fact or making a feeble effort for maintaining statistics of the mishaps.
The Government of India needs to have world class product testing facilities to test drugs, food, cars or any other consumable product that can prove to be a menace to life. It does not happen coincidently that Tata Nano is sold in India for half of what it costs in a country which is industrially developed, this is a classic case of requirement of a cheap product that outweighs the need for safety of family and self. The developed countries like the United States have stalwart agencies which oversee the protection of consumer products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food and drugs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for automobiles and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for various other consumer products etc. This right needs each product which can potentially be a danger to our lives to be marketed after adequate and complete verification as well as validation. India is 50 years away, for empowering this right adequately and completely.
India has developed specific routes for asserting the rights of consumers. The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 defines consumer law in India. This legislation helps to protect consumers from any kind of exploitation by availing the means for hearing and considering and finally settling disputes. This Act also stipulates the goods and service providers’ responsibilities. In the year 1987, the provisions of this Act became binding legally.
To lessen the time period taken to sort out consumer disputes, the Act permits the creation of quasi- judicial bodies to be formed at district level, state as well as central government levels. There are at present 604 District Forums along with 34 State Commissions, with the National Consumer Disputes Redressed Commission functioning at the final level. India boosts itself to be the only country having specific courts for hearing consumer grievances as per the CUTS Centre for Consumer Action Research and Training.
This Act provides consumers protection against the marketing of services and goods that might be injurious to life or property. It also provides consumers the right to have accurate information about a product or service’s quantity, purity, quality, standard and potency. There should be a competitive price at which goods and services should be offered to the consumers.
A consumer having possession of a product which is defective can seek recompense from a jurisdictional Consumer Forum. This forum would need the manufacturer to come over the defect, give a replacement product, and refund the consumer’s money or should pay compensation for the defect cause loss or any injury to the consumer. In case the product found is hazardous, then the forum may order the manufacturer for desisting in its manufacture.